Interview: Riley Herbst is on a mission

Riley Herbst is gearing as much as return to Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 Monster Vitality Ford Mustang for his third season within the NASCAR Xfinity Sequence this 12 months.

A member of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2021, Herbst has had a constant marketing campaign in 2022 with three prime threes, eight prime fives, and 20 prime 10s — sufficient for a spot in qualifying and in the end tenth in factors. Gaining expertise and confidence with each race he runs, Herbst has been pleased with 2022 and sees it as a powerful place to begin in 2023.

“We had a powerful 2022 season,” says Herbst. “We had a bunch of prime fives and a bunch of prime ten. This 12 months I will get to know my crew mate Cole Custer. I actually assume this can assist our program tremendously, and hopefully we are able to work collectively and find yourself in victory lane.

“I beloved the 2022 season, however I did not. Clearly we need to win. We need to win every part. Hopefully we are able to take that subsequent step this 12 months and get on the street to victory and begin accumulating trophies.

“We’re actually centered on consistency as we go into 2023. Consistency is vital in all the races, however particularly in NASCAR. Hopefully we are able to proceed to construct that consistency, and that consistency can take us even larger as that prime three can flip into Wins and extra poles, extra laps led, extra stage factors and all that stuff. We’re simply making an attempt to take that subsequent step this 12 months and be higher than we have been final 12 months.”

Two people who Herbst believes have been of nice significance to him all through his tenure on the Xfinity collection are Kevin Harvick and SHR crew chief Richard Boswell.

“Clearly, with Kevin Harvick, 2023 shall be his final 12 months,” says Herbst. “He is popping out huge and it is nice to observe. He is my childhood hero, so it is nice to be within the trade whereas he is in his senior 12 months. I additionally signed with Kevin Harvick Integrated which he runs. He helped me get off the monitor in an enormous method. He factors me in the precise route.” And he provides me recommendation on and off the racetrack, which is so superb.

“Richard Boswell is a good man. He is a very good crew chief. He is a racer and loves going out on the racetrack. And the crew itself is great. It is the beginning of my third 12 months with them. It is nice. Stewart-Haas is a store filled with winners and racers, they usually do every part they will to assist us on the crew.” 98 they usually positively really feel at residence.”

Group boss Tony Stewart can be protecting an in depth eye on Herbst.

“Tony involves fairly a number of races,” says Herbst. “Man, he is the racer of the racers. When he is not on the monitor with us, he is on the monitor together with his spouse, or at another race competing in a dust automotive. He is even doing a little drag racing now. He is the very definition of a racer.”

The 2023 Xfinity Sequence kicks off at Daytona on February 18th. It is historical past that Herbst says cannot come quickly sufficient.

“I am excited to go after it,” he says. “I do know we could be there ultimately. I consider with something in life and in racing, confidence is vital. Over the previous six to eight months I’ve felt more and more assured in my skills. I’m additionally very assured in my preparation and within the work I do “I actually belief my crew chief and my crew. All of it means good issues, and hopefully it means victory lane quickly.”

“Daytona is one among our largest races of the 12 months, however it’s a wild race to say the least. We’ll be working intently with Cole in ’00 and hopefully we are able to work collectively and draft and be on prime in terms of that. Cole and I are good pals. I’ve recognized him for a short while and he has We have already began planning for Daytona and the way greatest to assault that monitor, methods to work collectively and methods to assist the crew typically.”

After the Daytona race opener, the Xfinity Sequence will head to Auto Membership Speedway adopted by Phoenix Raceway on March twenty fifth.

“It is essential,” Herbst says. “You need to be constant for the primary 10 races after which you’ll be able to race after that as a result of the sphere is so shut collectively. All of those race tracks are a lot enjoyable and I really feel like we’ll be aggressive on each monitor.”

Forward of all that comes NASCAR Xfinity Sequence testing, which is scheduled for January thirtieth in Charlotte.

“This might be day to apply and get some coaching and get your ft again in motorsport and get your head proper,” he says. “Will probably be good to instruct the brand new crew members right here with the crew, and I will make myself comfy within the race automotive once more. It’s good that they gave us this check.”

Whereas the final word aim is to trip the trophy, Herbst’s quick precedence is to make some Xfinity-level wins.

“I’d like to race within the Cup Sequence and I’d like to be a Cup Sequence winner, however now I need to win races within the Xfinity Sequence and be the Champion after which we are able to speak concerning the Cup Sequence at a later time,” he says.

“We’re sticking to what we have to do to go and attempt to win these races and struggle for the championship. We’re placing the puzzle collectively piece by piece, and it goes collectively rather well. Our spirits at Stewart-Haas Racing are actually good. We’re very keen to begin the season and we’ll attempt to win some “The races and competing for the championships. I actually need him to win the primary race. It has to occur. Hopefully it is in our first race at Daytona. If not, we’ll preserve working onerous and we’ll pull it off.”

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